ITIL and ISO/IEC 20000 History: Parallel Worlds

I was interested in the origins of ITIL and ISO 20000, and began looking it up on the internet and in literature. There are bits and pieces of info here and there, rumors and info of questionable quality on forums and blogs. I have managed to collect this information and put it in a table in an organized fashion for the convenience of anyone who might share the interest.

Since some of the sources are not 100% verified, please feel free to comment if you have an update or complementary info.

Some myths (Falkland war origins of ITIL) are funny and believable, but denied by the authors.

The role of IBM and its Information Systems Management Architecture (ISMA) is pretty vague; even the stakeholders from that time do not agree on the degree to which it influenced ITIL. I am ready to believe that ISMA played a significant role in the forming of ITIL V1, but that vehicle quickly took the road and went many miles from its origins.


The late Margaret Thatcher was first elected Prime Minister in 1979. The fact was that the UK Government’s IT budget was extremely large and difficult to control, and it is quite reasonable to think that ITIL development was related to cost-cutting, efficiency-driven policy of that time.

As for ISO 20000, information on its history is even scarcer. I thought it would be fun to see major milestones and deliverables side by side in a single table:

1986 CCTA (UK Government’s Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency) authorized a program to develop a common set of operational guidance with the objective of increasing efficiencies in Government IT.
1988 GITMM – Government Infrastructure Management Method was formalized and issued as guidelines for Government IT operations in the UK focused on Service Level Management. Also in 1988, the development team was expanded and work continued on Cost, Capacity, and Availability.
1989 GITMM title proved inadequate. It is not a method, and the “G” was making it unmarketable outside of government. Finally, it received a new name: IT Infrastructure Library – ITIL.
1989 First ITIL book published, Service Level Management, Help Desk (incorporating the basic concepts of Incident Management), Contingency Planning, and Change Management.
1990 Problem Management, Configuration Management and Cost Management for IT Services published.
1991 Software Control & Distribution published.
CCTA initiated IT Infrastructure Management Forum as a formal user group.
1992 Availability Management published by CCTA.
1993 Examination Institute for Information Science (EXIN) established in Netherlands to deliver and administer the ITIL examination.
1995 British Standard Institution (BSI) published the first version of DISC PD 0005:1995 – Code of Practice for IT Service Management. It described four basic ITSM processes.
1996 (July) First ITIL Service Manager class delivered in United States by US company, ITSMI.
1997 Customer-focused update to the Service Level Management book.
1997 ITIMF legally becomes what we know today as the IT Service Management Forum (itSMF UK).
1998 BSI publishes a revised version of DISC PD 0005:1998 and it already described all five process areas and 13 processes as we know them today.
2000 Service Support V2 published Published BS 15000:2000 – Specification for IT Service Management, which was used together with the code of practice DISC PD 0005.
The third supplementary document DISC PD 0015:2000 IT Service Management Self-Assessment Workbook was published.  It was a questionnaire used to make an assessment of compliance degree with BS 15000.
2001 Service Delivery V2 published.
CCTA became a part of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC).
Microsoft released the Microsoft Operational Framework (MOF) based on ITIL.
2002 Application Management, Planning to Implement IT Service Management and ICT Infrastructure Management published. Some revisions and rewriting followed, resulting in standard documents very similar to today’s norm:
BS 15000-1:2002 IT service management – Specification for Service Management;
PD 0015:2002 – Self-Assessment Workbook
2003 Software Asset Management published.
British Computer Society’s ISEB starts ITIL Practitioner trainings and examinations.
BS 15000-2:2003 IT service management – Code of Practice for Service Management published.
PD 0005:2003 Guide to Management of IT Service Management published with explanations of the purpose of BS 15000, and also the framework guidance on how to use the standard processes and implement them.
2004 Business Perspective: The IS View on Delivering Services to the Business published. BS 15000 was adopted by many service companies in UK, and countries worldwide accepted it.
2005 BS 15000 was placed on the “fast track” by the ISO. By the end of the year, with some moderate changes, it was published as ISO/IEC 20000 standard:
ISO/IEC 20000-1:2005 Specification  is very formal, it defines processes and provides assessment/ audit criteria.
ISO/IEC 20000-2:2005 Code of Practice with HOW-TOs and best practices for implementation of Part 1.
2006 (June) ITIL Glossary V2 published
APM Group Limited announced as preferred bidder of ITIL accreditation & certification program, over the itSMF International, which was expected to win.
2007 (May) ITIL V3 five core books published.
2009 ISO/IEC TR 20000-3:2009 Guidance on scope definition and applicability published.
2010 Peoplecert Group, the new ITIL Examination, Institute accredited. ISO/IEC TR 20000-4:2010 Process reference model – describes the service management system processes implied by ISO/IEC 20000-1 at an abstract level.
ISO/IEC TR 20000-5:2010 Exemplar implementation plan for ISO/IEC 20000 -1 – provided guidance to implementation of ISO/IEC 20000 by example and advice.
2011 (July) ITIL 2011 update published. (April)  ISO/IEC 20000-1:2011 – new version of specification is out.
2012 (February) ISO/IEC 20000-2:2012 – new Guidance on the application of service management systems published.
Now Work in progress: ISO/IEC 20000-7: Application of ISO/IEC 20000-1 to the cloud. ISO/IEC 20000-10: Concepts and terminology for ISO/IEC 20000-1. ISO/IEC 20000-11: Guidance on the relationship between ISO/IEC 20000-1 and related frameworks.


To better understand ISO 20000, you can also find  Service Management System-Related documents as a free preview.